A few weeks ago, I revamped my main landing pages a bit. I streamlined my Work With Me page to make sure it reflects which companies can benefit the most from my communication consulting and copywriting services.
But I didn’t just add information about what kind of companies I want to work with. It’s now also abundantly clear who I do not want to work with. If you check on my home page and scroll down you’ll see that it now includes a Policy & Values part:
“Please note that I will refuse to work with people who are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or display any other kind of discriminatory behaviour.”
It’s time to take a stand
I recently developed a clear values guide for Taboola Rasa and had been toying with the idea of adding a values disclaimer for Grumpy Girl Communication as well. Given the political and social climate we currently live in, there really is no better time to finally make that point and to make it publicly.
There’s not much that I as a sole trader can do about bigots running the world but what I can do is refuse to work with them. I will not be the one to help bigots reach their audiences better.
Check Your Privilege
I realise that I can only afford to do this because I have the privilege of being able to pick my clients. Rejecting a project luckily doesn’t cost me my livelihood. Not all freelancers have this option and are forced to keep working in situations that are less than ideal.
So I decided to not just not work with bigots, but also to specifically support marginalised groups by seeking them out as clients.
“I am also actively looking to work with a diverse set of clients and would like to invite minorities — especially women of colour, LGBTQI, and genderqueer people — to contact me.”
I hope that by making this explicit, these marginalised groups will always know that they and their businesses are safe with me. That they will never need to hide who they are. That I will look out for them and have their backs. Furthermore, my clients are startups, and the startup industry has some serious diversity issues. So I hope that I can also do my part to help create a more diverse startup ecosystem.
We do have power
It looks like I was on to something when I added my Policy & Values section to my website and Facebook page. I definitely wasn’t the only one thinking about this. When I told Michelle of Bombchelle about it, she immediately cheered me on and added a disclaimer to her own website. She has since posted about it on her Facebook page and promptly inspired other freelancers to follow suit as well.
Join us in saying no to bigoted clients
I am more than excited that this is catching on! Maybe one day, no one will want to work with the bigots anymore. One day, they’ll be hard-pressed to find a copywriter, a web designer, a graphic designer or a marketing expert who will be willing to put up with their discriminatory behaviour and language.
If you want to join us in freelancing with our values intact, you’re more than welcome to borrow my or Michelle’s language to base your own policy on. If you’re not there yet because you can’t afford to turn any job down — don’t fret, don’t feel bad about it. Your time will come, and then you’ll be prepared and you’ll know you won’t be alone in this fight. We’ll be waiting for you.
We freelancers often forget that the power to change things is ours after all. But if we stick together, we can create change in this industry.